Posted by GL(ON) on March 12, 2002 at 14:51:45:
Here is some info from John Reed, a notorious hanging judge of anything to do with real estate education.
John Beck?I recommend
I love John the person, the writer, and the speaker. However, I have received a number of
complaints and nothing but complaints about Genesis Media Group, Inc., the company that sells a
mentoring program in which John trained the mentors, provides material that the mentors and
mentorees use, and is on call to to help them. John believes the Genesis mentoring program is helpful
for some would-be investors who are not self-starters. My opinion on mentoring is that it is an
informal service provided for free by knowledgeable friends.
John has always tended to undercharge for his information. I attended a $15 seminar where he gave
out about $200 worth of solid info over two hours. But no one has ever told me they thought
Genesis undercharges. I do not know John?s arrangement with Genesis, but if it?s like his past
activities, he is probably getting too little for his services. If John ever started a mentoring service
without Genesis, I would probably take another look at mentoring. More likely, in the absence of a
company who would market and handle the details, he would simply stop selling how-to information
Here is an item I published in my newsletter, Real Estate Investor?s Monthly in January of 2002:
John Beck?s ?Free and clear? infomercial
I had long heard of John Beck?s infomercial for his ?Free and clear? course on investing in tax-lien
certificates, but I had never seen it?until recently. John is a long-time real-estate investor and
guru. He is also a lawyer and a friend of mine. My articles and books have often featured John?s
adventures and opinions.
I was channel surfing around 12:15 AM recently when I heard the name ?John Beck.? It was
freaky. We tend to regard TV as another world. But when they kept saying John Beck and writing
his name on the screen, I thought, ?Hey, I know him! He?s a real person, not a TV character!?
The infomercial features a young man and woman who finish each other?s breathless sentences
about how wonderful John?s course is. They are as energized and enthused as only TV pitchmen
From time to time, the scene changes to some guy interviewing John. But it was not the John I
know. He is rumpled, low-key, laid back, thoughtful, slow to speak?sort of an intellectual Jimmy
Stewart without the stuttering.
What I saw on TV was what I would expect if you gave him a dress-for-success makeover, made
him double-park his car in downtown San Francisco, and had him drink diuretics for three hours
without letting him go to the bathroom. He seemed to be sitting on the front of his chair and almost
shouting his lines with a tremendous sense of urgency. The guy who interviewed him behaved the
Apparently the producers of the infomercial, Genesis Media, have found through focus-group
research or something, that the way to market a book on investing in tax-lien certificates is to say
over and over how cheap such purchases are?often under $1,000 in the examples in the
infomercial?and that those who buy such houses have no mortgage or mortgage payments. I am
not sure they ever mentioned the phrase tax-lien certificates. It was cheap, free and clear, cheap,
free and clear, cheap, etc.
One bit of John?s influence was apparent. The commercial was honest. John repeatedly held up
color photos of houses and stated the price at which they sold via delinquent-property-tax
procedures. If John says it, it?s true.
There were testimonials, but they, too, were honest as far as I could tell. For one thing, they
claimed far less success than the outlandish nonsense you hear on other real-estate infomercials.
The testimonial givers were not identified, but one was Ron Starr, an investor and guru who has
co-authored books with John and who has often been featured in my books and newsletter.
Somehow, they made Ron look ten years younger in the infomercial?which I guess is not
surprising after they made John look like an investment banker.
The infomercial appeared to have been part John insisting that it be honest and part Genesis
insisting that everyone act like carnival barkers. From the emails I have received, the problem
arises after you buy the $39.95 course, then start receiving calls from boiler-room salesmen who
pressure you into buying far more expensive services.
I pass the complaining emails I get along to John and he seems to win most of them over when he
contacts them. I surmise that he is also asking Genesis to behave in such a way that fewer
complaints are generated. I have never seen the $39.95 course. I love John; have no use for
I was asked to do an infomercial about an exchanging course many years ago. I refused in part
because I felt the infomercial format had been used almost universally by sleazeballs. Although it
would theoretically be possible to do an honest infomercial, the mere fact that I was using that
medium would make me look like a sleazeball.
I said I might do it if I could make it look totally different, but when I described some ways I
would want to do that, the producer rejected them out of hand. The only way they would do it
was a fake talk show format. The only identification that it was a commercial that they would allow
was a fine-print written disclaimer at the beginning and end of the half hour. No way, I said.